Ballot Access Reform

It is not true that we get the government we vote for; we actually get the government that the government allows us to vote for.-JGP

            I have said for years, that one of the biggest problems we have in government is entitlement class that has been entrenched in Harrisburg for decades.  Good people that want to run are either discouraged by the status quo elitists, told it is not their time yet, or have to wade through the cumbersome ballot process. How can Pennsylvania have “free and fair” elections if the great majority of contests are uncontested?

            Should you get the signatures you need, making sure you have double the number needed, you are faced with various ballot challenges. After having walked through neighborhoods, stood in front of local business, attended functions, and harassed friends and family for their signatures for four weeks, you believe you’ve made it. However, chances are your petitions will be challenged not only by your opponent, but by someone representing the opposing party; the fix is in.  

            The nominating process is designed to limit competition in within the political parties, the parties themselves and our freedom to decided who governs us. It is a money maker for attorneys and government employees. By streamlining and opening the process, we might actually save money. Attorneys are elected to office, attorneys write the laws, attorneys make money off the laws they create for us to live under. This is a problem, but that discussion is for another time.

            There are many proposals out there and should seriously be considered. Mine is simple and, I believe, would open up the process to more people who want to run for elected office. The plan is as follows:

            1) As a member of a recognized political party pay a filing fee for the office you are         seeking:

                        *Local Municipality, Borough, or Township             $ 10

                        *City Mayor, Council, etc                                          $ 20

                        *County Executive, Sheriff, Council, etc.                  $ 50

                        *Statewide State office                                               $100

                        *Federal Office-Congress                                           $150

                        *Federal Office-Senate                                               $200

                        *President                                                                   $300

            2) For a member of a minor party, or an independent candidate:

                        *Local office .5% of the prior winners total and the appropriate filing fee

                        *All others 1% of the prior winners total and the appropriate filing fee.

Simple and fair.                     

            Everyone agrees that competition creates innovation and improves a company. Why would it not be same for government? We need to create an environment that encourages “regular” people to get engaged in the process as candidates. New people, new ideas, and a new approach to government can only improve everyone’s life.